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You Need to Get 3 Estimates

Credits: William Bazeley

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"You need to get 3 estimates!" If you have ever filed a property insurance claim or did any work on your home then you have most likely heard that phrase many times. It turns out that this is great advice to ensure you are getting the best value from the best local contractor. Having the 3 estimates is about more than finding the lowest cost, it is also about understanding who the contractor is and how they will conduct business. The lowest price isn't always the deal you may think it is!

Historically the only solution for a homeowner has been to meet with a salesperson from each company that would tell them all about their services and what is needed. Before you sign anything with that sales representative be sure to get comparable estimates from a couple of other local contractors.
 

Here are a few important points to pay attention to:

Who is the contractor?
All of this information is key to understanding what kind of company they have and will help you understand what contractor will be there when you need them

Are they local?
After a large hail or wind storm, out of town contractors often descend on a community due to the large demand for roofing caused by the event. Being a local contractor may have different meaning to different people. Whoever you use, make sure you know there will be someone around to service a warranty claim or installation defect.

When was the company established?
Longevity can be a good indicator of a successful company and good corporate leadership. With this said, do not rule out younger companies as they may be the next 50 year company because they may have better ideas on how to service the market.

Are they licensed?
Licensing is required in many markets to roof a property. In some cases residential and commercial licensing may be different. If you are unsure check with your city or county website to know the requirements for a roofer. For instance, some states like Texas have no licensing requirements for roofers.

Does the contractor have appropriate liability insurance?
In most areas of the country roofers must have appropriate business insurance that protects them and the consumers they work with. It is important that you work with a company that has the appropriate coverage as you could be liable if someone is hurt on your property and the company cannot cover the loss. You may be surprised to find out that not all states require a roofer to carry liability or other insurance coverages.

How have they invested in their company?
Contractors can invest in their company by engaging with industry associations and acquiring trade accreditations. Training certifications shows a commitment to roofing best practices and installation methods.

What have past customers said about the contractor?
Ratings and Reviews have become part of our online shopping experience and roofing is no different. There are many sources available to homeowners to read reviews from past customers.

Estimates details:
Estimate details are specific to the work being done. Materials and warranties can significantly impact the pricing for a job.

What type of materials are being used?
Not all materials are created equal. Each manufacturer will have various classes of shingles available to the market, each of which will carry with them a different warranty. Contractors typically will stick with certain manufacturers as they know the products and may have specialized training for installing them.

What is the material warranty?
Manufacturer warranties cover the basic performance of the shingle and have a specific guidelines on the coverage and timeline. Typically shingles with a better warranty will cost more.

Is there a labor warranty?
Installation issues are not covered by the material warranty. Issues could include leaking from the flashing, issues with loose shingles or other problems. Local contractors will want to ensure that they are taking care of their clients in the community.

Is a Workmanship warranty offered by the manufacturer?
Some manufacturers offer workmanship warranties that go over and above the standard labor and material warranties. By having a manufacturer workmanship warranty homeowners can feel rest assured that any issues with the installation or material will be addressed. These programs often require an inspection to verify that the installation was performed to specs.

What are the Pricing Details?
There are many line items that can vastly impact the financial details. An estimate should clearly explain what is included in the price for the proposed scope. Remember, if the pricing seems too good to be true it probably is.


It is not easy to compare contractors and their estimates. Estimates are challenging because they are often written in differing formats. The contractors can be difficult to compare since customer review information is spread across multiple sources; some of which you need to pay for access to read. Although it will take time, a homeowner will be able make a better decision by comparing all the information about the contractors and their estimate details.

A salesperson can sell a good story about their company, which is why a homeowner needs a service like RoofMarketplace.com to easily compare all the facts and determine which contractor is best for thier roofing needs.